Updated: Good news for some red shirts

11 01 2012

Some of the red shirts detained since May 2010 are finally receiving support from the Yingluck Shinawatra-led government.

The Nation reports that the cabinet has “approved Bt46 million to bail out 57 red-shirt activists and supporters remanded in connection with the 2010 political unrest and riots.” Four others have been acquitted. The cabinet decision was required as the so-called Justice Fund had insufficient funds.

Those receiving assistance are said to be “common members of the red-shirt movement and ordinary protesters detained at eight prisons … on charges ranging from violating the emergency decree to rioting, committing arson and pursuing terrorism.”

The report states that “21 are in Bangkok, 13 in Mukdahan, nine in Maha Sarakham, five in Chiang Mai, four in Ubon Ratchathani, two each in Nonthaburi and Udon Thani and one in Nakhon Ratchasima.”

What isn’t clear is if these are the same “about 50” political prisoners identified in an earlier report or how this number is related to the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship claim claim that there remain more than 100 of their number in jail.

At the same time, according to the Bangkok Post, cabinet has also approved a 2 billion baht compensation fund “for victims of all the political violence which took place between 2005, and the riots [sic. this is PostSpeak] in Bangkok in 2010.” The government states the scheme was in line with suggestions from the Truth for Reconciliation Commission. Included are “protesters, state officials, journalists and private individuals…”.

The figures provided by the Post are not expressed entirely clearly, but it appears that the family of each slain victim will be entitled to 4.5 million baht plus 250,000 baht to pay for funeral expenses and an “additional 3 million baht for the psychological trauma caused.” Lower amounts will be provided to the injured.

Of course, not all victims will find the financial compensation adequate for the loss of sons, daughters, husbands, wives and relatives. Payao Akkhahad is quoted. She is:

the mother of 25-year-old nurse Kamolkade, who was shot dead in Wat Pathum Wanaram during the military crackdown on May 19, 2010, said she did not care about the money and did not feel happy about the news.

“Losing my beloved daughter can’t compare with that money. The life of my daughter is greater than that, even though it is such a lot of money,” said Mrs Payao.

She demands that the government bring “those who killed their loved ones to justice.”

The report concludes by stating that others “entitled to payments include victims who were imprisoned but were later acquitted of any wrongdoing, and victims who were wrongly imprisoned.”

Update: The Nation reports that there have been mixed reactions to the proposal for compensation. PPT already mentioned Payao’s comments above. Meanwhile, some yellow shirts “slammed the package in a heated debate on social media…”.



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